Disabled riding school loses ConCourt battle and must find new pastures

The almost 9 hectares in Constantia has been used to provide therapeutic riding for 100s of disabled children for over 35 years.

As a result of Thursday's judgment, the land will be transferred to the land claimant Sedick Sadien. The land was awarded to Sadien in 2012, after he had actually claimed land in the Sillery area of Constantia, from which his family had been removed in 1962.

That land was not suitable to give back to the family, so this 9 hectare area was awarded instead.

SA Riding for the Disabled Association chairperson, Belinda Thom, speaks to John Maytham about the judgment

She says it is good news that the Constitutional Court has ruled that though the SA Riding for the Disabled Association must move off the land, the association had been unlawfully deprived of compensation for the loss of use of this land.

We really do feel partially vindicated in that way. We were turned down by land claims and Supreme Court of Appeal, and I think it is a huge victory that we are finally going to be recognised as the lawful occupiers of the land.

Belinda Thom, SA Riding for the Disabled Association chairperson

Hopefully, we will get land and not money in our compensation...that is what we have been asking for all along.

Belinda Thom, SA Riding for the Disabled Association chairperson

Thom says they have been saving money to use in the relocation. so as to continue with the work they do with the disabled children.

The big issue is finding suitable land.

Belinda Thom, SA Riding for the Disabled Association chairperson

She says the process going forward is they will be returning to the Land Claims Court with the assistance of the City of Cape Town, and the court will make the order.

All available land has been earmarked for land claims or development, she says. The 13 special needs schools the work with are all in a limited area which prohibits the school moving very far afield.

They do not need to be based in the Southern Suburbs she says and would be happy with any available land that is suitable.

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